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Textures - Interview @ Appelpop (Tiel, NL) - 13.09.2008

We met with Stef Broks and Jochem Jacobs, the drummer and one of the guitarists of Textures, right after their show in Appelpop. We mainly talked about their last album Silhouettes. They told us how the writing process usually goes. We talked about the general atmosphere of the album and they explained to us in which way this album perfectly fits the band's idea of making music. They also looked back on 2008 and we evoked their project of touring in North America next year.

Stef Broks & Jochem Jacobs (Textures)

Metal-Ways: Could you describe the band briefly?

Stef: We are Textures, and we started out in 2001, the two of us actually, and the whole thing was set up by the end of 2001. We have 3 albums out at Listenable Records, from France, really nice label. We play metal in all kinds of ways. There's not just one thing that can characterize us.

Jochem: We're on a musical journey. We don't know where we are going, but we know where we've been.

M-W: Can you describe the evolution of your music between 2001 and 2008?

Stef: We wanted to start a more progressive rock metal band. We wanted to do stuff like Dream Theater, at least that's what we discussed at first. But soon, it became evident that we wanted to do heavier stuff, but also atmospheric stuff. And actually I think we wanted to combine very serene and calm stuff with very heavy stuff. So our music is about dynamics.

M-W: How does the writing process go?

Stef: There is not just one way for us to write songs. It's often not just one guy who does the whole thing. We all bring up ideas to the rehearsal room and sometimes we create music at home, in our personal home studios. In the end, we put parts that we've created altogether, and that's how we write songs. But actually, it's kind of difficult because every song has a different kind of writing process. So it's hard to tell the key behind the song writing of Textures. There are certain things we really focus on: we try to play with dynamics and we try to build up the songs around atmospheres, ups and downs and climaxes.

M-W: And how do you come with the lyrics?

Stef: We have a certain feeling of a song and of the whole album actually, and we try to do something with the feelings and the atmosphere. Sometimes lyrics get written first, and sometimes the whole song is written musically and the lyrics come afterwards. It depends.

M-W: How would you describe the general feeling and atmosphere of your last album Silhouettes?

Stef: It's kind of dark. It's mysterious. And actually it's in the name: "Silhouettes". It's the main thematic. It means shadows, shades... For me personally, I think our music is always really positive, but sometimes it gets really dark. It's weird. I can't explain it. But that's personal.

Jochem: Of course it's personal, and sometimes when Eric, the singer, comes off with the lyrics, or when someone else comes off with the lyrics, it's kind of hard to understand immediately what it is about.

Stef: But after all, it's kind of funny that since the first album, it's always been about polarity, opposites. The last album is about dark and light and about these opposites in any kind of way. And that's also how we want to express ourselves in music. We go from very dark sides to very light sides, and from a heavy part to an atmospheric part. That's the musical journey that he described. We don't want to give the listener a very clear piece of music; he has to struggle to get into it. That's maybe what we wanted to reach with that: the lyrics versus the music.

Jochem: Yes, it's one big story. It's complex, but if you listen to it one hundred times, you still get new stuff.

Stef: And the way we write some riffs, for a lot of people, it's abstract, because we have a modern way – well, that's what people call it – a modern way of writing riffs with all kinds of weird rhythms and harmonic stuff. And that's how we deal with the not really easy stuff to listen to. But after a few times, you get into it, and hopefully it stays in your head for a long time.

Jochem: Off topic, but it makes me think of a riff we played today. The crowd started to clap in a totally wrong tempo! It was like "they don't understand at all what we're doing". The crowd made a lot of noise and you could really hear them on stage. And it was difficult to handle because there's a break in the song where one guitar player plays by himself... But [pointing at Stef] he was really good because he made a good decision and started playing the tempo. And it was really funny because they were applauding with such enthusiastic faces and then the whole band started with that riff, and everybody was like "Oh! What?", so they began to understand things... But in the end, they were amazed by how it actually sounded when the whole band played it.

M-W: Did you already release a video clip for your last album?

Stef: They're still making a video clip for the song Awake. It's a very complex video clip. But it's going to be amazing. A lot of this stuff is going to be shot with high speed cameras. There's going to be slow motion stuff, and underwater stuff. But we haven't seen anything yet. We're supposed to do the band shots this week. It's going to be released by the beginning of November. It was kind of complex to arrange all this, because we need a lot of money to reach the creative goal of the video.

M-W: And did you decide precisely what you wanted the clip to look like, or was it the label?

Jochem: Well, let's say it right! We want to do what we want to do and nobody else does what we don't want to do.

M-W: You did some pretty nice shows lately, like supporting Arch Enemy in Paris and playing in big festivals such as the Lowlands, so you must have pretty nice live experiences?

Stef: When I'll look back on 2008 in a few years, I think that that gig in Paris will be one of the bests. We also did another gig in Paris with Ultra Vomit in La Locomotive, but this gig with Arch Enemy was really big. When Eric entered the stage, we were playing already, and I couldn't even hear my drum kit anymore because of the yelling of the people. And it's very clear that the French people are more enthusiastic and more open. They show more emotion to the music. And it's not only the crowd, it's also how French people treat you, how the press approaches the music...

M-W: And how did everything happen with Arch Enemy?

Stef: We already toured with Arch Enemy a year ago. We did like a Germany tour. We also played once in France, in Mulhouse. They asked us actually.

M-W: Today, you played in Appelpop, what did you think of the crowd?

Stef: Actually it's really nice to play on a non-metal festival. It's better than on a metal-only festival, because today we are the only metal band, and all the kids who're listening to heavy stuff come and have fun. And you could see it, because in the back there were the kind of "normal" people, listening and maybe walking away, but I think 3000 people really loved it today.

M-W: You are planning a tour in North America. Can you tell me more about it?

Stef: Well, it's not a big story yet but we are going to tour in the USA, maybe Canada, but not as headliners. We're looking for a bigger band. We have a lot of contacts with good bands. The band is not confirmed yet, but it's going to happen in 2009.

Jochem: In Spring or something... We had some offers in the past, but we waited because if you go to do a tour in America, you better do it good, because it's such a big continent.

Stef: I don't think it's like a big difference, because it's just music, people that are going to interact. It's just a lot of money. Because if it was 2000 €, it wouldn't be a big thing because we could have done it a lot of times; but this is like 50 000 €. If you play there and there's nobody coming to the shows, if you fuck it up, you loose a lot of money.

Jochem: We don't want to end up in debts.

Stef: It's like an investment, you need to be smart, get a good band... But we'll be fine.

M-W: To end things, what would be for you the best thing in being a musician for Textures?

Jochem: The food! Manger... the mayonnaise de Dijon.

Stef: Yes, he imports mayonnaise from our French label.

Jochem: Yes, they try to send to me Benedicta and Amora... And also Maille mustard! The food's the best thing! Well, especially in France, because in England they don't understand anything about food. And we're Dutch, and we come to that conclusion. Imagine being a French band and touring in England, it would suck big time! :)

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